The Arguments for and Against Saving Sex for Marriage

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It’s hard to talk about shows like Kiss Bang Love without addressing the actual “banging.” Sex culture has changed significantly in the past few decades and what used to be implied and not shown, and only spoken about behind closed doors, is now out in the open – including on the shows we watch. But to a number of young people, sex is still private, sacred, and something only married people do. Here are a few of the reasons some people choose to wait to have sex until marriage and some of the reasons people are choosing to forge full steam ahead into sexual relationships before walking down the aisle.

Argument for Saving Sex for Marriage

Religious values

There’s no question that most groups who promote saving sex until marriage are heavily influenced by a religion of some sort, be it Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or some of the smaller faiths. Christians follow the Bible, which promotes sex only between married people. The same goes for Muslims and their sacred book, the Quran. Interestingly, the Jewish holy book, the Torah, frowns upon pre-marital sex, but doesn’t outright ban it.

A number of celebrities have been vocal about saving sex for marriage due to strong Christian beliefs, including football player Tim Tebow and singer Carrie Underwood, who later exchanged vows with husband Mike Fisher in 2010.

Health reasons

The government and private advocacy groups have promoted and launched campaigns to save sex for marriage to help lessen the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. A report by the Medical Institute for Sexual Health indicated an estimated 1 in 5 Americans are infected with one or more STDs, and 12 million Americans are newly infected each year. Among the infected, 63 percent are less than 25 years old.

STDs are at an all-time high in America, thus many abstinence-until-marriage programs are aimed at teens. This includes the US. Department of Health and Human Services and their campaign for the use of condoms and full abstinence until marriage, which is taught in schools across the country. However, with the majority of teens having sex before they are married anyway, we wonder how effective this is.

It’s the moral thing to do

Whether its religious reasons, health reasons or, quite frankly, any reason at all, waiting to have sex after marriage has been hailed by many as the moral thing to do, including by actress Juliana Hough who claims she is saving sex for marriage. This boils down to sexual ethics based on moral grounds, dating back to the Roman Empire. According to Roman law, the definition of marriage was a man mating with a woman.

It can make for a happier and more romantic marriage

With the self-will and persistence needed to abstain, the ability for someone to save sex for marriage deserves a medal. For most people, it isn’t an easy task, especially if one dates before marriage (which I think it’s safe to say that most couples do, aside from those in arranged marriages or participants on Married at First Sight).

If both partners agree to wait until marriage, it’s a way to prove true love. It also takes their relationship to a whole other level, making both partners feel happier when they wait until their wedding night before doing the deed. According to an article by The Washington Times, the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia published a study called “Before I Do” and found that what couples do before tying the knot actually matters and “premarital experiences from the past could end up haunting them long into marital bliss.” Further, according to The Economist, a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology suggested couples that delay sex have better relationships.

Chastity is the new cool

Despite the chance of being persecuted for their sexual beliefs, more and more celebrities are using their influence as a platform for their chaste beliefs. This includes supermodel Adriana Lima, Nick Cannon (who revealed he did not have sex until he married Mariah Carey) pop singer Ciara, and the other celebrities previously mentioned.

Argument for Having Sex Before Marriage

You may never get married

Statistics show more people are less interested in exchanging vows. In fact, according to a story by The Boston Globe, there were 2.48 million marriages in 1984, a number that dropped to 2.13 million in 2013. Further, in a study by Gallup, 52 percent of adults 18 to 29 were single/ never married in 2004, while that number increased to 64 percent in 2014. With less people getting married, one may never have sex if they’re waiting to tie the knot first.

The stigma against pre-marital sex in America is gone

We’ve come so far from the days where even married couples were shown sleeping in separate beds (e.g. Lucy and Ricky in I Love Lucy). Almost 95 percent of Americans in any poll published in the past few years indicate no one waits until their wedding night for sex. It’s no longer perceived as “wrong” and stars like Britney Spears, Jessica Alba and Selena Gomez, all of whom previously stood in favor of pre-marital abstinence, later claimed to have had sex before saying “I do.”

Early marriage = higher divorce rate

Many young people who wait to have sex until married traditionally get married younger, but statistics show this leads to higher divorce rates and unhappier marriages. As shown in a report by Family Studies, people younger than 20 have a 32 percent risk of divorce within five years of their first marriage, and 20- to 24-year-olds have a 20 percent chance of divorce (opposed to 15 percent for 25- to 29-year-olds). This shows that waiting to have sex can lead to an unhappy marriage and divorce, and premarital sex leads to more stable marriages.

Actress Hilary Duff famously saved sex for marriage. Once married, she and her husband separated a year later. Jessica Simpson was also a virgin until she married Nick Lachey in 2002, though they filed for divorce in 2005. The aforementioned Adriana Lima also divorced her husband after saving herself for marriage.

Not everyone is sexually compatible

Let’s say you wait until your wedding night to have sex, only to learn that your partner — who you worked so hard to save yourself for — is not the best in bed, not a great kisser and overall not what you expected intimately. Sex is only great when the chemistry is there, which is why many couples that wait to have sex often later file for divorce.

According to Kristen Mark, Ph.D., M.P.H. of Psychology Today, “Perceiving sexual compatibility with a partner has been shown to be related to sexual satisfaction, such that the more sexually compatible you are, the more sexually satisfied you are. And researchers have consistently found that sexual satisfaction is also significantly positively related to relationship satisfaction.” If you aren’t happy in a relationship, chances are you will not stay in it long-term.

Sex is natural and makes us happy

It is natural and normal for most human beings to pursue sex, especially at an age when they begin to understand their sexual identity. Depriving yourself of sex (before marriage) can have a negative impact on endorphins and lead to depression and anxiety. According to Dr. Anjan Chatterjee’s book The Aesthetic Brain: How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art, when people are sexually satisfied, they have more neural activity, the same pattern seen when people are sated with food.

Christianity is on the decline, meaning less people believe sex before marriage is a sin

While religious values have strong influence on sex before marriage, Christianity — the most adhered to religion in America — is on the decline. According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of adults who describe themselves as Christians dropped by nearly 8 percentage points in just seven years to about 71 percent as of 2015. More people are becoming less affiliated with religion, which includes younger people who have less reason to feel sex before marriage is a sin.

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